Viewers 'prefer TV classics at Christmas'

TV viewers would prefer to see repeats of classics than new seasonal shows as they sink into the sofa for Christmas, a new survey suggests.

Rather than carping about the number of recycled shows over the festive period, the study for digital TV provider Freeview shows three-fifths would actually prefer tried and trusted oldies.

Criticism of the number of repeats at Christmas has become an annual sport. Classic reruns on the BBC during the holidays include Porridge, Dad's Army, The Good Life and Morecambe & Wise.

But the survey shows the repeats are welcomed by many. In the survey of 2,000 adult viewers, 60% claimed to prefer watching classic Christmas TV to new specials with contemporary stars of drama and comedy.

And more than half (56%) said they found older comedies funnier than contemporary shows.

Rather than being short-changed by repeats, two-fifths of those who

took part said they would like to see even more classic reruns at Christmas.

The study emphasises how important TV is to families over the festive period, often on in the background all day on December 25.

Three-fifths of those in the study said the TV would be on for 14 hours, many turning on from 10am onwards.

The study found that the average Brit will watch 70 hours of live TV over Christmas and record a further 15 hours for later viewing.

Half of those polled said they loved classic TV because it was more suitable for the entire family and would not leave some relatives squirming with embarrassment.

Ilse Howling, Managing Director of Freeview, said: "While in many respects Christmas TV has never been better, thanks to so much new talent and the quality of high definition, repeats hold an important place in the nation's hearts. Sometimes you just can't beat the classics."

She added that many will be using personal video recorders to ensure they do not miss shows.

"These days it doesn't matter whether you're a late riser or an early dozer on Christmas Day, as Freeview+ ensures Christmas telly addicts can record and store programmes so they don't miss their favourite shows."

Saphieh Ashtiany, the equality and employment lawyer

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